A desperate mum-of-two from Solihull went on a shoplifting spree to support her family after being hit by the bedroom tax.
Kelly Wagstaff, of Joiners Croft, Damson Wood, was arrested after her mini crime wave in Solihull town centre, on April 23, saw her steal almost £400 worth of women’s clothing.
Malcolm Stoddart, prosecuting, said the 36-year-old had parked her Vauxhall Astra in the centre at noon on the day in question, before heading to Dorothy Perkins in Mell Square, with a security tag removal device concealed in her handbag.
Here she removed the tags off £57.50 worth of clothes, before placing them in her handbag and returning to her car. She visited Touchwood to repeat the theft at Top Shop, with £154 of clothing, and finally Wallace where she was arrested after trying to take £177 worth of clothing.
“She said she had bought the security tag removal device from a man at the White Hart public house for £20,” said Mr Stoddart.
“She said she was broke and needed cash for her bills.”
Phillip Haycock, defending, said Wagstaff, who broke down in tears during the proceedings, had been pushed to breaking point by mounting bills and the Government’s bedroom tax.
“She has two boys, aged 10 and 12, who she is completely responsible for,” he said.
“She doesn’t have any parents, the father of the children passed away in 2009.
“She’s got to pay another £14 a week because of bedroom tax, she’s got her children’s birthdays coming up, their social engagements.
“My client was at her wit’s end. She is desperately trying to find employment, she has registered with every job agency conceivable.”
Wagstaff was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £45 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.